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Friday, October 19, 2018

Feature Beer Friday: Crown Valley's Imperial Pumpkin Smash Stout

By Eric Ducote

Good morning everyone, it's finally starting to feel like Fall for more than a day at a time, and as everyone knows, Fall means pumpkin EVERYTHING.  Beer has never been an exception to this trend, as pumpkin beers have been popping up ever since craft beer started its renaissance.  Generally I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin beers, but most are lighter styles with bland pumpkin seasonings... not the case with this offering from Crown Valley.

Crown Valley Brewing & Distilling is located in rural southeast Missouri, in an area known primarily for wineries.  They produce a range of flagship beers and ciders, in addition to seasonal and high abv beers.  I very rarely see their flagship beers in our market, but occasionally spot the ciders and every year their Imperial Pumpkin Smash Stout hits shelves.  This beer is a high-abv imperial stout base, with 10.6% alcohol and 48 IBU.  It's loaded with rich dark malts and balanced out with some noble hops as well as Chinook which is known for a piney character.  

Crown Valley's Imperial Pumpkin Smash

The beer (a fresh 2018 version) pours a dark chocolate color, as an imperial stout should, with a lighter than expected head but great retention.  The nose is a combination of bitter roasted coffee notes, sweeter chocolate malt notes, and an undeniable pumpkin flavor blended with the spices always associated with pumpkin desserts.  The taste is a beautiful follow through on the nose, with complex malt flavors that work extremely well with the pumpkin and spice.  My favorite thing about this beer is that it still tastes like an imperial stout with pumpkin on top rather than it tasting like I'm drinking a glass of pumpkin pie.  

This remains one of my favorite pumpkin beers alongside the Saint Arnold Pumpkinator, and I'll almost certainly be buying some more before the season is over.  Cheers!